Delegation of responsibilities within a family during pregnancy

When friends of mine were expecting their first child, the wife frequently received comments like "That's okay. You're eating for two now."

The husband had a response ready:

"If she's eating for two, I'm drinking for three!"

Comments (15)
  1. Carl D says:

    Wow – I’ve been speaking English all my life (nearly 50 years) and I’d never heard one of the expressions on the linked page:  "play gooseberry".  Must be a regional thing.

  2. Gabe says:

    Carl: Are you British? The linked page is by a British English speaker (I’m American), so it contains several other idioms I was not a priori familiar with: "in apple-pie order", "be like chalk and cheese", "like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth", "small beer",  and "rhubarb, rhubarb".

  3. Kemp says:

    British English here and those phrases are a mystery to me. I wonder where they sourced the information. I’ve noticed that quite often Americans (that is, Americans with access to the ability to be published) think they know what peculiarities we have in en-GB. Usually they don’t know at all.

  4. Gabe says:

    If I were a woman and pregnant, I would respond "And I’m drinking for two, now!"*

    * Of course it would be water that I’d be drinking, not alcohol.

  5. Carl D says:

    I’m in California.  I’ve heard nearly all of those expressions (or seen in print) except for the gooseberry one.  Maybe it’s from the South…?  I might’ve guessed en-GB, but apparently that’s not the case!

  6. Gabe says:

    Hints the article wasn’t written by an American: "favourite", "come to the cinema with you", "going on holiday to Jamaica". There are plenty of other pages on the site that more directly indicate that it’s written by somebody in the UK.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that the idioms are all British; I just assumed that since the site is in the UK and I’m American, that the idioms I’m unfamiliar with must be British.

  7. frymaster says:

    british here and "apple-pie order" is new to be but "chalk and cheese", "butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth", "small beer" and "rhubarb, rhubarb" are known to me (as are all the rest on that page)

  8. John says:

    Another brit, and I agree with frymaster.

    Note that Small Beer originates from the weak beer that was a safe alternative to water before public sanitation improved.

  9. peterchen says:

    I’ve heard from multiple sources that for a group of actors (stage or movie), to create the impression of "unintelligible background chatter ", they just have to repeat "rhubarb, rhubarb" in a low voice. Supposedly, the German "Rhabarber" works as well – for German. Never tried it, but might work if they take care not to get in sync :)

  10. David Moisan says:


    In Hollywood that is called "Wallah", and sound engineers get and set "wallah" for crowd ambience

  11. Sion says:

    The "gooseberry" thing might be an old Welsh idiom – I’ve certainly heard it here plenty of times.

    "rhubarb rhubarb" came into general knowledge from a film by Eric Sykes, called, funnily enough, "rhubarb". In the film, the only words anybody speaks is "rhubarb", and everybody’s last name is Rhubarb. Even the number plates (licence plates?) on the cars all say RHUBARB.

    It was, if I understand correctly, a parody of old radio plays, where it was found that having a group of people repeat "rhubarb rhubarb" over and over, conveys quite effectively, the unintelligible sound of a crowd in the background.

    I recognised all those saying on the web-page, but the meaning of some of them appears incorrect.

  12. sion says:

    oh, there’s even clips of it on Youtube!

  13. Adam says:

    Like chalk and cheese basically describes a pair of complete opposites – I hear it used most when it comes to people "they are like chalk and cheese".

    Only one I haven’t heard of is apple-pie order, but the rest I’ve heard said before – then again, my family is apparently full of Cockney phrases so that’s probably the reason.

    Further reading

    Have a Butcher’s :)

  14. Nick Lamb says:

    My dictionary says that "gooseberry" in this sense is British, and that matches my experience, I’ve never lived anywhere near Wales. Obviously your exposure to the term will vary depending on how often you’re put in such an awkward situation. The American equivalent appears to be a "third wheel". But I think you can be a "third wheel" without the other two people being romantically involved, whereas this is not possible for a gooseberry.

  15. Sion says:

    Gooseberry, from when I’ve heard it used, doesn’t require the other two people to be romantically involved either. It just seems to suggest "the one in an uncomfortable situation"

    For example, my grandmother often used the term for when she was in company of someone who had a secret, which was mentioned publicly, in a kind of "I didn’t know where to look" sense.

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